New York High School: Poly Prep

Baseball poll: June 11

June, 12, 2012
The baseball season is over. Grand Street Campus claimed the PSAL title, while Iona Prep won the CHSAA championship. Here's the final poll of the season.

Here's the poll:

1. Grand Street Campus (21-1/Last week: 1): Grand Street Campus vanquished George Washington to take home the Public Schools Athletic League title.

2. Poly Prep (20-4/Last week: 2): Poly Prep finishes the year ranked second, another fine season for the school.

3. Iona Prep (18-6/Last week: 4): Iona Prep defeated Fordham Prep to win the CHSAA title.

4. George Washington (19-3/Last week: 3): George Washington could not repeat as champions as it fell to Grand Street Campus in the final.

5. Fordham Prep (16-9/Last week: 5): Fordham Prep beat St. Joseph, but then lost to Iona Prep in the final.

6. St. Joseph by-the-Sea (17-6/Last week: 6): St. Joseph by-the-Sea lost to Fordham Prep, falling one game short of the CHSAA final.

7. Xaverian (19-3/Last week: 7): Xaverian was the favorite of the CHSAA tournament but instead had to watch as Iona Prep was crowned champions.

8. Tottenville (17-4/Last week: 8): Tottenville had a great year, but surely has to think it should have gone further in the PSAL tournament.

9. Cardozo (18-1/Last week: 9): Cardozo also had a fantastic season, but needed to make it further than the semifinals of the PSAL tournament.

10. St. Raymond (14-7/Last week: 10): St. Raymond had a strong season, although it couldn't keep up its hot play once the CHSAA tournament began.

Baseball poll: June 4

June, 7, 2012
It's been a crazy week in the playoffs. Defending CHSAA champion Xaverian was ousted, as well as Cardozo, the top seed in the PSAL playoffs. The champions will be crowned Friday. Here's this week's poll, which has plenty of changes.

Here's the poll:

1. Grand Street Campus (20-1/Last week: 1): Grand Street Campus swept Telecommunications to set up the final vs. George Washington.

2. Poly Prep (20-4/Last week: 4): Poly Prep is the ACIS champion after it defeating Fieldson in the title game more than a week ago.

3. George Washington (19-2/Last week: 7): Not that you would expect differently, but the defending PSAL champs are back in the finals.

4. Iona Prep (17-6/Last week: Unranked): Iona Prep won five straight games in the CHSAA tournament and is in the final.

5. Fordham Prep (15-8/Last week: Unranked): Fordham Prep will face St. Joseph by-the-Sea with the winner going to the CHSAA final.

6. St. Joseph by-the-Sea (17-5/Last week: 10): St. Joseph by-the-Sea will meet Fordham Prep to determine who faces Iona for the title.

7. Xaverian (19-3/Last week: 2): Xaverian lost to Fordham and then was ousted by Molloy in the CHSAA tournament.

8. Tottenville (17-4/Last week: 3): Tottenville fell in the quarterfinals to John Adams, which had to leave a bitter taste in its mouth.

9. Cardozo (18-1/Last week: 5): Cardozo fell victim to eighth-seeded Telecommunications in the quarterfinals.

10. St. Raymond (14-7/Last week: 8): Losses to Iona Prep and St. Joseph by-the-Sea eliminated St. Raymond from the CHSAA tournament.

Baseball poll: May 28

May, 30, 2012
The playoffs have begun and it's time for teams to fight for their seasons. Poly Prep has claimed a title and others are looking to do the same. Here's the poll.

Here's the poll:

1. Grand Street Campus (17-1/Last week: 1): Grand Street Campus is into the quarterfinals after defeating Environmental Studies and Taft.

2. Xaverian (18-1/Last week: 2): Xaverian earned the top seed in the CHSAA tournament after it defeated St. Raymond Sunday.

3. Tottenville (17-3/Last week: 3): Tottenville breezed by RKA and Manhattan Center to advance to the quarterfinals.

4. Poly Prep (20-4/Last week: 4): Poly Prep is the ACIS champion after it defeating Fieldson in the title game last week.

5. Cardozo (18-0/Last week: 5): Cardozo is also in the quarterfinals after a pair of wins against Newtown and Murry Bergtraum.

6. George Washington (16-2/Last week: 7): Not that you would expect differently, but the defending PSAL champs are back in the quarterfinals.

7. Norman Thomas (16-2/Last week: 9): Norman Thomas will meet George Washington in the quarters after wins over LIC and James Madison.

8. St. Raymond (13-5/Last week: 10): St. Raymond is the No. 2 seed in the CHSAA tournament after falling to Xavieran in the battle for the top seed.

9. Moore Catholic (13-3/Last week: 6): Moore Catholic is the No. 3 seed in the CHSAA tournament after an impressive win against Fordham Prep.

10. St. Joseph by-the-Sea (12-3/Last week: 3): St. Joseph by-the-Sea takes on Monsignor Farrell in the CHSAA Tournament.

Baseball poll: May 21

May, 21, 2012
As the playoffs beckon, we have the same two teams in the top two spots. Grand Street Campus is still No. 1, while Xaverian is holding down No. 2.

Here's the poll:

1. Grand Street Campus (15-1/Last week: 1): Grand Street Campus enters the Public Schools Athletic League Class A tournament as the team to beat.

2. Xaverian (14-1/Last week: 2): Xaverian rebounded from its loss against St. Francis Prep with two league wins and a non-conference victory over Tottenville.

3. Tottenville (15-3/Last week: 4): Had it not been for the forfeited victories, Tottenville would have finished this year undefeated in league play.

4. Poly Prep (19-4/Last week: 5): Poly Prep is in the ACIS final and recovered nicely from losing to Tottenville last weekend.

5. Cardozo (16-0/Last week: 6): Cardozo finished the year undefeated in league play and will try to keep it going into the playoffs.

6. Moore Catholic (12-2/Last week: 8): Moore Catholic moves up two spots after a pair of impressive wins over St. Joseph by-the-Sea.

7. George Washington (14-2/Last week: 7): George Washington lost its season finale to Norman Thomas, sending the Trojans into the playoffs on a sour note.

8. St. Joseph by-the-Sea (13-3/Last week: 3): St. Joseph by-the-Sea takes a slide after losing twice to Moore Catholic over the past week.

9. Norman Thomas (14-2/Last week: Unranked): Norman Thomas is back in the poll after beating George Washington to force a tie atop the division.

10. St. Raymond (12-4/Last week: 9): St. Raymond lost a tough one to Xavier, but is able to stay in the poll for at least another week.

Baseball poll: May 7

May, 7, 2012
Grand Street Campus continues its reign with a 2-0 week. The same 10 teams from last week remain in the poll, with Fordham Prep slipping after a loss to All Hallows. Here's the poll.

1. Grand Street Campus (10-1/Last week: 1): Grand Street Campus went 2-0 this week with wins over FDR and New Utrecht.

2. Xaverian (10-0/Last week: 2): Xaverian picked up nice wins against St. Edmund Prep and Bishop Ford this week.

3. St. Joseph by-the-Sea (7-0/Last week: 3): St. Joseph by-the-Sea defeating Archbishop Stepinac in its lone game this week.

4. Poly Prep (12-3/Last week: 4): Poly Prep has now won nine in a row after it took down Collegiate, Horace Mann and Xavier this week.

5. Cardozo (11-0/Last week: 6): Cardozo moves up one spot after its 2-0 week with wins over Newtown and Franklin K. Lane.

6. George Washington (11-1/Last week: 7): George Washington went 3-0 with wins over Environmental Studies, Graphic Communications and W. 50th St.

7. Tottenville (10-3/Last week: 7): Tottenville defeated New Dorp twice and then took down Curtis to remain at the top of Staten Island A.

8. Fordham Prep (8-1/Last week: 5): Fordham Prep takes a hit in the poll as it lost its first game of the season to All Hallows.

9. James Monroe (9-0/Last week: 9): James Monroe is now 11-0 in league play after a pair of wins this past week.

10. Moore Catholic (7-1/Last week: 10): Moore Catholic went 2-0 with wins over St. Peter's and Cardinal Hayes.

Baseball poll: April 30

April, 30, 2012
Finally, a team stays atop the poll. Grand Street Campus did not lose this week and therefore remains the No. 1 team in New York City. Here's this week's poll.

1. Grand Street Campus (8-1/Last week: 1): Grand Street Campus went 3-0 this week with wins over Lincoln, Lafayette and Telecommunications.

2. Xaverian (8-0/Last week: 2): Xaverian had a quality win against Molloy and stays undefeated in the CHSAA.

3. St. Joseph by-the-Sea (6-0/Last week: 3): St. Joseph by-the-Sea defeated Spellman and Monsignor Farrell twice to improve to 6-0 on the year.

4. Poly Prep (9-3/Last week: 4): Poly Prep has now won six in a row after it defeated Fieldston this weekend to get to 9-3.

5. Fordham Prep (8-0/Last week: 8): Fordham Prep continues its hot start to the season and rises three spots after a big win against a tough St. Raymond team on Sunday.

6. Cardozo (9-0/Last week: 6): Wins over Long Island City and John Adams keeps Cardozo undefeated in Queens A East play.

7. George Washington (8-1/Last week: 5): George Washington falls two spots in the poll after losing to Manhattan Center this past week.

8. Tottenville (7-3/Last week: 7): Tottenville would be undefeated in league play had it not been for those forfeited wins to start the year.

9. James Monroe (9-0/Last week: Unranked): James Monroe returns to the poll as it is 9-0 in Bronx A West play this season.

10. Moore Catholic (5-1/Last week: Unranked): Moore Catholic makes its debut in the poll, having only lost to St. Joseph this season.

Baseball poll: April 23

April, 23, 2012
It's starting to seem like basketball season around here. For the third straight week, there's a new team atop this poll after Poly Prep defeated George Washington in a non-league game. Here's this week's rankings.

1. Grand Street Campus (5-1/Last week: 2): Grand Street Campus swept its league games this week against EBC/Bushwick Campus ans has three games this week.

2. Xaverian (5-0/Last week: 3): Xaverian had quality wins against St. Francis Prep and McClancy this past week as it shows it might be the team to beat in the CHSAA.

3. St. Joseph by-the-Sea (3-0/Last week: 4: St. Joseph by-the-Sea continues its ascension after defeating Moore Catholic and St. Peter's this past week.

4. Poly Prep (7-3/Last week: 6): Poly Prep won four straight games after losing two straight, including an impressive win against George Washington Saturday in a non-league game.

5. George Washington (6-0/Last week: 1): The Trojans continue to win its league games but have fell to Poly Prep and Cardozo in non-league games on the year.

6. Cardozo (7-0/Last week: 5): Cardozo is also undefeated in league play after defeating Forest Hills twice and William Bryant in Queens A East action this past week.

7. Tottenville (4-3/Last week: 8): Tottenville is above .500 in league play now after wins against Susan Wagner and Petrides this past week.

8. Fordham Prep (3-0/Last week: 10): Fordham Prep started the season off on a right foot with a big against Iona Prep, as well as beating Mount and Stepinac.

9. Norman Thomas (7-0/Last week: Unranked): Norman Thomas makes its first appearance in the poll as it off to a 7-0 start in Manhattan A East this year.

10. Cardinal Spellman (4-1/Last week: Unranked): Cardinal Spellman is also making its debut in the poll after racking up wins against Monsignor Farrell, Iona Prep and others.

Baseball poll: April 16

April, 16, 2012
An exciting week that saw the conclusion of the James Monroe and George Washington tournaments also saw our top team in New York City lose back-to-back games. With those results on our minds, here's our poll.

1. George Washington (3-0/Last week: 3): The Trojans are in first after winning their tournament by defeating Cardozo, who had previously knocked them off.

2. Grand Street Campus (3-1/Last week: 6): Grand Street Campus won the vaunted James Monroe tournament by defeating the Monroe, Tottenville and Xaverian.

3. Xaverian (3-0/Last week: 5): Xaverian picked up a win against Holy Cross in league play and lost in the Monroe Tournament final to Grand Street Campus.

4. St. Joseph by-the-Sea (1-0/Last week: Unranked): St. Joseph by-the-Sea knocked off Iona Prep in league pay and then took down Poly Prep to complete its week.

5. Cardozo (4-0/Last week: 2): Cardozo made it to the George Washington tournament final but fell to the hosts in a rematch.

6. Poly Prep (3-3/Last week: 1): A big drop for Poly Prep as it lost games to Fieldston and St. Joseph by-the-Sea this week to fall to .500.

7. Iona Prep (2-1/Last week: 4): The Gaels lost to St. Joseph in league play and Xaverian in the Monroe tournament, but did knock off Monsignor Farrell.

8. Tottenville (2-3/Last week: 7): Tottenville finished third in the Monroe tournament, losing to eventual champion Grand Street Campus in the semifinals.

9. James Monroe (4-0/Last week: 8): An unfavorable quarterfinal matchup against Grand Street Campus led to Monroe's early departure from its own tournament.

10. Fordham Prep (0-0/Last week: 10): We're still waiting for the Rams to play their first game of the season so we can see them in action.

Baseball rankings: April 9

April, 9, 2012
There have already been some great games to kick off the baseball season. We've seen some upsets in tournaments, including Cardozo knocking off George Washington, and there have been some other surprising results. Here's our first poll of the year.

1. Poly Prep (2-0): Poly Prep is off to a fast start this season and picked up a nice win in league play this week by defeating Riverdale.

2. Cardozo (4-0): Cardozo is undefeated in league play and knocked off George Washington in a tournament this week, sending a message that the Judges are going to be a tough out in the Public Schools Athletic League.

3. George Washington (3-0): The Trojans might have lost in their tournament but they are still a loaded team and are already off to a 3-0 start on the season in league play.

4. Iona Prep (1-0): The Gaels got their season going on the right foot when it knocked off CHSAA finalist All Hallows in their season opener last week.

5. Xaverian (2-0): The defending Catholic High Schools Athletic Association champion has beaten Bishop Ford and Christ the King in league play to start the season.

6. Grand Street Campus (3-1): Grand Street won both of its division games this week as well as going 2-0 in pool play during the Monroe Tournament.

7. Tottenville (4-1): The PSAL finalists lost their one game by forfeit but have won every other game and also have been 2-0 in pool play during the Monroe Tournament.

8. James Monroe (4-0): The Bronx power is off to yet another great start with an undefeated record in league play as well as going 2-0 in pool play in its tournament.

9. All Hallows (1-1): All Hallows started the season with a dominant win against Hayes but then fell just short against Iona Prep in a battle between two of the better teams in the league.

10. Fordham Prep (0-0): Fordham Prep gets the final spot in the poll based on its reputation coming into the year as it has not played a league contest yet.

Week 2: NYC top 10 poll

September, 12, 2011
The first week of football in New York City brought some upsets and has caused some change to the poll. While the top four teams all won or didn't play, the teams ranked No. 5-7 all fell victim to defeats. With that in mind, here's the poll.

1. St. Anthony's (0-0): St. Anthony's game this week was canceled and we can't knock them off the top perch until they lose. Up next: Sept. 16, Monsignor Farrell.

2. Tottenville (1-0): The Pirates started their season with an impressive win as they defeated a tough Jefferson team. Up next: Sept. 17, at Dewitt Clinton.

3. Xaverian (1-0): Xaverian earned a nice out-of-conference win against a tough Monroe Woodbury team from upstate. Up next: Sept. 18, at Holy Cross.

4. Stepinac (1-0): Stepinac finished off the tripleheader at Middletown HS with a victory against the hosts. Up next: Sept. 17, at Chaminade.

5. Iona Prep (1-0): Iona Prep had one of the best wins of the weekend as it went to Poly Prep and won, 26-13. Up next: Sept. 17, St. Joseph by-the-Sea.

6. Lincoln (1-0): The Railsplitters ran over an inferior New Utrecht team in a 54-6 victory. Up next: Sept. 16, JFK.

7. Fort Hamilton (1-0): Fort Hamilton put the boots to Lehman as it heads into this week's big showdown with Campus Magnet. Up next: Sept. 17, at Campus Magnet.

8. Boys & Girls (1-0): The Kangaroos work their way into the rankings and get the vote for the most impressive win of the weekend as they destroyed Curtis, 40-12. Up next: Sept. 17, Erasmus Hall.

9. Campus Magnet (1-0): Campus Magnet also makes an appearance in the rankings as they defeat Erasmus Hall, 24-20. Up next: Sept. 17, Fort Hamilton.

10. Poly Prep (0-1): Yes, we'll keep Poly Prep in the rankings only because we feel they are still a top team in New York City. Up next: Sept. 17, @ Peddle

Five games to watch in week 1

September, 9, 2011
In addition to Don Bosco vs. Mission Viejo, there are plenty of great gamest his weekend to open the high school football schedule. Here are the top five games for New York City for this upcoming weekend.

CHSFL VS. SECTION IX TRIPLEHEADER (Saturday, ranging times): The CHSFL will be sending three of its teams up to Middletown, N.Y. for a tripleheader against teams from Section IX. Xavier faces Pine Bush at noon, Xaverian tangles with Monroe Woodbury at 3 p.m. and Stepinac closes out the event with a game against host Middletown. Stepinac and Xaverian figure to be top teams this year, so it will be a good test for them early.

IONA PREP AT POLY PREP (Saturday, Noon): As an independent, Poly Prep can schedule whomever it wants, which can make it difficult to rank the Blue Devils among New York City's best. They're helping us this year with this game against Iona Prep. Iona is coming off a CHSFL championship game appearance last season and should be a top team this season. A win for Poly Prep could go a long way in showing how good they are in the New York City scene.

JEFFERSON AT TOTTENVILLE (Friday, 7 p.m.): Tottenville is widely considered to be the clear-cut favorite in the PSAL this season and starts its season against a tough Jefferson club. This game will be more to see what Jefferson is made of and how they can hang with the elite team in the PSAL. Tottenville will be expected to have an offensive explosion, considering its firepower.

CURTIS AT BOYS & GIRLS (Saturday, Noon): Boys & Girls will be making its debut under its new coach, Clive Harding, and it will be interesting to see how the Kangaroos play with a new leader. They have talent and toughness and it will be a tough challenge for them against a Curtis team who will be looking to challenge for the PSAL title. Curtis quarterback Prince Dukes will be looking to get his season off to a fast start.

CAMPUS MAGNET AT ERASMUS HALL (Saturday, Noon): As we try to determine who will be the teams most likely to give Tottenville a run for its money in the PSAL, games like this will be key. Erasmus Hall has all the talent in the world, including the area's top player in cornerback Wayne Morgan, but needs to put the pieces together. Campus Magnet made the PSAL semifinals last season and will be looking to keep up its momentum.

Preseason New York Top 10 poll

August, 19, 2011
Football season is upon us and the first week of games will be here before we know it. With that in mind, here is the first look at who will be the elite teams in the New York City football leagues this upcoming season. Let's look at the preseason edition of the New York Top 10 poll.

1. St. Anthony's: The defending CHSFL champion loses a lot from last season, but like it does every year, will be reloaded to make another run this year. The team returns running backs Brian Sherlock and Dariyan Riley, who combined for over 1,000 yards and 14 touchdowns last season. The Friars will have to replace quarterback Charlie Raffa.

2. Tottenville: The Pirates are the clear-cut favorites to win the PSAL title this season. The Pirates lost in the semifinals last season, but will tough to beat with rising junior sophomore quarterback Brandon Barnes and rising senior wide receiver Alvin Cornelius, a Syracuse recruit.

3. Xaverian: The Clippers didn't live up to their potential last season, going 5-5 and losing in the first round of the playoffs, but are littered with talented playmakers for this season. Running backs Laray Smith and Isaiah Kearney will be a potent group in the backfield for the Clippers.

4. Archbishop Stepinac: The Crusaders make the move to the AAA-AA Division this season after going undefeated and winning the Class "AA" title last year, but are well-equipped to handle the move. Running back Caleb Gilligan-Evans and tight end/defensive end Austin Tapps should anchor the team and it also returns a bevy of starters.

5. Poly Prep: The Blue Devils an independent schedule, but will again be one of the better teams in New York City. Safety/Tight End Malik Rodriguez, who is headed to Ohio, quarterback Kevin Gebon and running back Mike Bernandez will guide a team coming off an 8-1 season.

6. Erasmus Hall: The Dutchmen teased us with their potential last season, but didn't put it all together. That shouldn't the case this season. Erasmus has the top recruit in the city in cornerback Wayne Morgan. Coach Danny Landberg said that rising senior linebacker Luder Jean Louis is the leader of the team.

7. Curtis: The Warriors lost in the quarterfinals of the playoffs last season, but will return with perhaps the most promising young quarterback in the city in rising sophomore Prince Dukes. Three transfers should help the team, according to coach Pete Gambardella, and he said his team has the chance to have an explosive offense.

8. Lincoln: The Railsplitters lost plenty to graduation, including top recruit Ishaq Williams, but the city finalists have a lot of their lineman back, according to head coach Shawn O'Connor. Running back Kareem Folkes will anchor the backfield and rising senior Jessel Jones will take over at quarterback.

9. Fort Hamilton: The defending PSAL champions, who defeated Lincoln for the city title, will be relying on their young players to compete this season. Rising senior Marvin Centeno is back at quarterback and should be a steady presence, while rising junior wide receiver/cornerback Travon Reid Segure will be a key player for the Tigers.

10.Iona Prep: The Gaels, like many teams on this list, lose some talented players from last season, but should be able to recover form their losses. Rising senior cornerback Justin Combs is a top recruit in the area, but Iona Prep will have to find new starters at quarterback and running back.

Zapata continues to excel but staying humble for Poly Prep

May, 18, 2011
NEW YORK--Andrew Zapata stood on the faux mound inside the batting cage on an overcast day in Brooklyn, hurling pitches to Poly Prep High School teammates who mostly ended up swatting at air. Instead, the ball would find its way from the right hander’s fingertips into the glove of senior Marcus Hernandez, who rose from his catcher’s squat, lifting his mask to ask the group of curious onlookers one simple question:

“Who’s the next victim?”

It’s been a month and a day since April 16, when the sophomore sensation’s famed 22 1/3 scoreless innings streak ended on a double against St. Joseph by-the-Sea. And while Stanford women’s basketball coach Tara VanDerveer could only assume Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma felt relieved last year when her team ended the Huskies' 90-game winning streak, Zapata was happy to admit himself that he feels slightly liberated.

“It was so exciting when I was doing it, but it was always in the back of my mind,” Zapata said during Tuesday’s practice. “When I finally gave up that run I was upset, obviously, but I was like, ‘All right, you know what? It’s over with. You don’t have to think about it anymore.’ ”

With the streak came a whirlwind of media coverage for Zapata, who had only made a few appearances his freshman year. “It’s hard not to notice the press,” said Poly Prep coach Matt Roventini, “but at the same time, it really hasn’t gone to his head in the slightest bit.”

The streak has not only revealed Zapata’s athletic achievements – his 89-miles-per-hour fastball, his newly learned cutter – but perhaps something even more important: the appropriate way in which he humbly carries himself.

Last season, it was Poly Prep pitchers Richie Carbone and J.J. Franco, two of the best in the city, who received most of the press coverage, and there was little need for Zapata to take the mound. Instead, he stayed in the background, opting to study both Carbone and Franco’s unwavering demeanor. “I think he was smart enough to try and learn and not just sit there and say, ‘Hey, I’m a freshman,’ ” Roventini said.

And so far, Zapata’s done a fine job emulating the twosome. Despite his age, he’s shown tremendous mental maturity, from the way he approaches full-count situations – “I only think about what pitch I’m going to throw and to just throw it for a strike,” he said – to how he handles the now curious reporters. In other words, the sophomore is a public relations gem-in-the-making.

Although the fervent Mets fan might not love the comparison, talking to Zapata is like speaking with a school-aged Derek Jeter. When referring to his team, he delivered lines like, “Everyone is like a family. From freshmen to seniors, everyone just bonds, and it’s so great.”

During the course of half an hour, he continued to say just the right thing. “I know in order to go pro, I’m going to have to stay humble, make the right decisions and work extremely hard,” Zapata said. “It doesn’t just happen over night, and you don’t just get lucky. You have to work hard and be patient.”

Perhaps Zapata’s even temper is just what Poly Prep (20-1, 13-0) needs heading into the playoffs. He thought the Blue Devils were too excited last season entering the title game against Collegiate that they lost. This time, Zapata will probably get to set the tone, since Roventini has handed him the ball in the team’s toughest games, including one last week.

On May 10, he tossed his fifth complete-game shutout in a 1-0 win over George Washington – one of the top teams in the city. Zapata said he felt better than he had all year during his two-hit and 10-strikeout performance. According to Roventini, now the pitcher has only surrendered three runs over 40 1/3 innings.

When Zapata was asked if the match-up against the Trojans was the type of game he’d mark on his calendar at the beginning of the season, he leaned forward in his chair and blurted out “definitely” before catching himself. “Of course, you’ve got to take it one game at a time,” said Zapata, again reverting to the more appropriate answer. But finally, the sophomore fessed up to a not-so-cookie-cutter admission.

“But if you said, ‘What game are you looking forward to most in the year?’” he said with a smile, “that definitely would’ve been the game.”